By Sami Zaptia.
Frankfurt, 30 August 2018:
Gunfire and shells were still being reported by south Tripoli residents despite a truce in the third day of the south Tripoli militia fighting being agreed late Wednesday night. A ‘‘neutral’’ force is supposed to occupy the disputed areas as the death toll and injuries mount.
The internationally-recognized Presidency Council and Government of National Accord head, Faiez Serraj, in his role as Supreme Commander of the (Tripoli-based) National Army, appointed Mohamed Al-Haddad, Central Military Zone Commander, and Osama Juwaili, Western Military Zone Commander, jointly in charge of overseeing the ceasefire using ‘‘neutral’’ forces.
They are to act as an interim buffer between the sets of militias until a more permanent solution is reached to the fighting and both contenders withdraw from the frontline.
Meanwhile, as militias from other towns and cities threaten to join the fighting, south Tripoli residents reported to this newspaper continued gunfire and shelling.
‘‘We hear gunfire ad shells whistling over our heads ad homes. What ceasefire?’’, a Salah al-Deen resident said earlier today. ‘‘Our homes are shaking, and our children are frightened. It’s depressing’’, he added.
He reported that a number of residents who had relatives elsewhere in Tripoli had moved out of the area. He also reported the beginnings of a run on foodstuffs and price increases as the fighting moved into its third day.
The Tripoli Ministry of Health reported a total of 118 dead and injured, with 27 deaths and 91 injuries, mostly to civilians.
Faiez Serraj addressed the Libyan public in a pre-recorded televised address in which he reiterated that the Tarhuna-based 7th Infantry ‘‘Kani’’ Brigade was no longer recognized by the Presidency Council, having been disbanded earlier this year. He warned against other militias from outside Tripoli joining the fighting and called for the saving of blood and for wise council from all parties.
He also called for the House of Representatives and the High State Council to hasten their constitutional obligations by facilitating for constitutional-based elections.
Meanwhile, UNSMIL continued to condemn the loss of civilian life and called for the cessation of all hostilities.